Look who's talking: Speech recognition solution takes on whole enterprise

January 29, 2002

Speech recognition systems began in the radiology department. They can now reach every area of the hospital, thanks to an enterprise-wide, voice-enabled clinical reporting solution from Talk Technology. The system, announced Monday at the HIMSS

Speech recognition systems began in the radiology department. They can now reach every area of the hospital, thanks to an enterprise-wide, voice-enabled clinical reporting solution from Talk Technology.

The system, announced Monday at the HIMSS meeting, is in beta test at Doylestown Hospital in Doylestown, PA. That hospital is thought to be the world's first healthcare facility to implement enterprise-wide speech recognition.

"All the hospital departments are now voice-enabled through our TalkStation application," said Jennifer Caissie, Talk Technology's vice president of marketing. "No one has done that yet."

The setup provides real-time voice recognition, so users can dictate, edit, and sign reports anywhere throughout the hospital. All TalkStation applications connect directly to the facility's hospital information system, as well as the radiology and cardiology information systems, via HL7. The product roadmap currently consists of radiology, cardiology, pathology, and emergency medicine.

"The goal is to have our entire suite of applications installed in the hospital by this time next year," said Milan diPierro, director of product management. "We plan on having general medicine plus Web-based and PDA-based components ready to announce at HIMSS next year in San Diego."

Enterprise speech recognition should enable all departments to improve patient care by streamlining workflow, decreasing or eliminating transcription costs, and accelerating report turnaround. In the emergency department, for example, TalkStation emulates current paper-based processes used to complete patient charts - canned paper reports that physicians use to fill in certain sections or check off boxes after a patient encounter.

"We've taken that process one step further by creating about 250 templates for the ED that are based on chief complaint. An emergency physician can bring up a template for, say, cardiac arrest, know exactly what sections need to be documented, and get through the chart very quickly," diPierro said.

Instead of having to dictate a chart from scratch, physicians are thus given a head start. This also provides for consistency from chart to chart, which also benefits referring physicians as well as the billing and insurance departments.

The company is taking its solution international with TalkStation Version 2.2, which supports German, French, and Dutch. Version 3.0, expected later this year, includes Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Finnish support.